A Birmingham Children’s Hospital Family Support Worker/Play specialist who has helped countless young people and their loved ones has been honoured with the inaugural national Our Health Heroes Gold Lifetime Achievement Award.
Helen King, who has worked for more than 30 years helping young people who have suffered from burns – including the last 12 years at the hospital’s specialist Burns Centre.
The South Yardley resident impressed judges with her decades of commitment to helping patients, which included her setting up an informal peer support group ‘Enzo’s Friends’. Alongside her work in helping young people who have suffered severe burns injuries feel at ease, happy and motivated during their recoveries, she works with them throughout their journeys helping to increase their self-confidence which can be harmed due to the injuries they suffer.
The Our Health Heroes Awards celebrate unsung healthcare heroes from across the UK in seven categories, with the Lifetime Achievement Award being a new addition this year to coincide with the 70th birthday of the NHS. Healthcare Heroes recognise individuals and teams, predominately from non-clinical areas, including support workers, apprentices and workforce planner staff. Winners were announced at a ceremony held in London recently.
Helen said it was humbling to receive the nomination. She added:
“To know that my colleagues and peers think that much of me that they’d nominate me is really special.
“The event was a really memorable occasion. It was a fantastic way to celebrate non-clinical staff, as they’re often the glue within organisations. Without them, the hospital doesn’t run.
“My award was the last one of the night and I knew I’d either be a Bronze, Silver or Gold Lifetime Award Winner. As they read out the Bronze and Silver winners, I realised that I’d won Gold. I couldn’t move out of my seat and it was difficult to breathe.
“It was an incredible honour to receive the award but I don’t see the award as mine. I’m just the custodian of it. I’d like to dedicate the award to our amazing Burns team and all of our brilliant children and families.
“I work with an extremely resilient team that meets with adversity head on. All I’ve ever wanted from my role is to help our wonderful patients and their families to lead fantastic lives. I’ll do everything I can to help them do that.”
Outside of her work as part of a 50-strong team at the Children’s Hospital, Helen is also a passionate fundraiser for good causes, including the Enzo’s Friends group.
Joanne Wilson, Advanced Occupational Therapist in Burns and Plastics, is a colleague of Helen and put her forward for the prestigious prize.
“I nominated Helen because she never asks for anything herself but instead gives generously, not only materially but also with her time for patients and colleagues alike. Our children are her life and her work has always come first. “She’s a supremely positive, amazingly strong and so resilient.
“She recognises the importance of listening and supporting. The valuable role she plays in the lives of our young people is highlighted by the number of them who still stay in touch despite many of them now being adults with children of their own.
“We’re all so proud to have her as a colleague and friend. Helen really is an inspiration and so deserving of this fantastic award."